Boston mayor defends segregated holiday party for 'electeds of color,' reveals it's a tradition

"A group that has been in place for more than a decade, and the opportunity to create a space for people to celebrate and rotate who hosts."

Libby Emmons Brooklyn NY
Boston Mayor Michelle Wu defended the long-standing practice of having segregated holiday parties for "elected of color." Her comments came after an email invite was accidentally sent from her staffer Denise DosSantos to all city council members, including the white ones, and then rescinded. 

DosSantos apologized for accidentally sending the invite to white people. Wu later apologized for the same thing, but did not apologize for holding a "no whites allowed" holiday party. 

As part of her defense, she revealed that this segregated party has been going on for over a decade, is held annually by a different member of the "electeds of color" club, and that this year it was Wu's turn to play host.

"We had individual conversations with everyone so people understand that it was truly just an honest mistake that went out in typing the email field," Wu said.

"I’ve been a part of a group that gathers, representing elected officials of color across all different levels of government in Massachusetts,” Wu said. “A group that has been in place for more than a decade, and the opportunity to create a space for people to celebrate and rotate who hosts.”

"It is my intention that we can, again, be a city that lives our values and create space for all kinds of communities to come together," she said. "I think we’ve all been in a position at one point where an email went out, and there was a mistake in the recipient."

For Wu and DosSantos, the issue wasn't the segregation, but the email gaffe. That's it.

In agreement with Wu was "elected of color" Councilor Tania Fernandes Anderson who said there was "no need for apologies at all" and the "email should not offend anyone."

"It's completely natural," Anderson said "for elected officials of color to gather for a holiday celebration" and exclude their white colleagues.

"Many groups celebrate and come together in various ways, and it’s not about excluding anyone. Instead, it’s about creating spaces for like-minded individuals to connect and support each other," Anderson said.
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